The long wait was over for teenagers across Huntingdonshire on Thursday as they collected their GCSE results, which were marked under a new grading system for the first time this year.
Under the new system, English literature, English language and maths grades were given in numbers rather than the traditional A* to G in what has been described as the biggest exam shake-up in a generation.
The new grading system has been introduced for English literature, English language and mathematics GCSEs.
The system grades student’s results on a 1-9 scale, with 9 being the best grade. It aims to allow for more differentiation between student’s results with 4 being a standard pass and 5 a stronger pass. Similarly, an 8 or 9 score is the equivalent to an A*, but the new system provides distinction between students who would achieve a lower A* to those achieving a higher A*. This provides 4-9 as being comparable to A*-C. Additionally, the new English and maths GCSEs implemented this year are more rigorous with one final exam at the end of Year 11, rather than spread across the two years.
The grading system has only been rolled out with English and maths for the 2017 results. In 2018, another 20 subjects will be graded at levels 1-9 with the aim that by 2019 a majority of subjects will be under this new system.
At Longsands Academy, staff, students and their parents/carers were celebrating a strong set of GCSE results with many departments and students achieving some outstanding outcomes.
Martin Paine, head teacher, said: “Both staff and students have worked extremely hard to make progress this year, strongly supported by parents and the wider community. The year has been particularly challenging in light of the changes to course content, examination rigour as well as the new grading measures in English and maths making comparisons with previous years’ performances difficult. It is clear that, in an ever more competitive GCSE examination climate, the core purpose of the Longsands Academy, to secure the best possible experience, learning and outcomes for each young person for whom we have responsibility, is being realised. I am proud of our students for their work ethic, resilience and the positive attitude they displayed throughout their studies as well as their final outcomes. This is their day when we celebrate their achievements and wish them every success in the future.”
Some 77 per cent of students secured a standard pass in English and 76 per cent a standard pass in maths, with 69 per cent of students securing at least a standard pass in both subjects. A number of other subject areas achieved notable results which contributed to the overall 62.1 per cent figure for five or more A*-C including English and maths, with a grade 4 in English and maths regarded as a standard pass. Chemistry, physics and biology all achieved more than 94 per cent A*-C whilst all students who sat further maths achieved an A*-C. Other subjects who secured impressive A*-C grades include Latin, music, RE, French, photography, economics, PE and history.
Many students gained a number of the highest grades, but of particular note were Jack Brightwell (secured level 9 grades in English language, literature and maths and seven A* grades), Joseph Barrett (secured level 9 grades in English language, literature and maths as well as seven A*/A grades), Maryann Chen (secured level 9 in maths and level 8 in English language and literature and seven A* grades) and Matthew Cossins (secured level 9 in maths and English literature and level 8 in English language and seven A*/A grades).
James Granville received level 9 in maths, A in further maths and A*s in history, chemistry and physics. Jessica Martin achieved three level 8s in English language, English literature and maths and four A grades in French, geography, biology and chemistry, two A*s in physics and further maths and a B in graphic design.
Neil Owen, senior assistant head teacher, said: “Once again our students have worked really hard in order to achieve success in all aspects of their life at Longsands, with the strong support from staff, parents and the wider community. I wish all students well in their future endeavours at St Neots Sixth Form Centre or elsewhere.”
Principal Andrew Goulding declared himself “very pleased” with this year’s results as 70 per cent of students achieved the new measure of grade 4-9 in both English and maths.
In the new 9-1 system, where a 9 is higher than an A*, the school had 17 students gaining a 9 in English or maths, while 81 per cent of all grades were at 4 (old grade C) or above, almost 15 per cent higher than the national average. Almost a quarter of grades were the top 9 – 7 (A*-B) grades.
Some outstanding individual achievements included: Isabel William (2 x 9s and 9 x A*-A); Mehzabin Munami (2 x 9s and 9 x A*-A); Emily Herbert (2 x 9s and 7 x A*-A); Thomas Hollingshurst (1 x 9 and 10 A*/A) and Joseph Butler (1 x 9 and 10 x A*/A).
Mr Goulding said he was “delighted for the many students who had achieved their potential and secured the next step in their education. I wish to thank the staff for all of their hard work and dedication in making sense of the new systems and providing the very best for the students.”
ST IVO SCHOOL
A strong set of results saw 65 per cent of students gain a grade 4 or higher in both English and maths.
In English, 75 per cent of students gained a 4 or higher while, in maths, 73 per cent of students gained a 4 or higher. 20 per cent of all GCSE grades were awarded at A*/A.
There were some notable high achievers in this year’s results. Abbey Couchman gained the equivalent of 10 A* grades, closely followed by Mahil Hoole and Robert McCrossan with 8 A*s and Jenna Waldock with 7 grades at A*.
Head teacher Sam Griffin said “These are an impressive set of results for this year group. I am delighted to see so many students doing so well. I would like to congratulate all of students on their achievements and to thank their staff and parents for their ongoing support.
“We are looking forward to welcoming students back into our sixth form at the start of term.”
At Ernulf Academy more than 50 per cent of students achieved one or more of the highest grades across their subjects with 13 students achieving three or more A*/As.
Of particular note were Elliot Cornelius (two x 9 and one grade 7, seven A*/A grades) and Alice Lomas (one x 9 and one x 8 grades and 7A*/A grades).
100 per cent of Ernulf students achieved five or more A*-G grades. Subjects which achieved particularly good results included dance (100 per cent A*-C), sport (93 per cent A*-C), business (86 per cent A*-C), engineering (81 per cent A*-C) and chemistry (78 per cent A*-C). Whilst IT (ECDL), core science, and media were amongst the subjects achieving an excellent 100 per cent pass rate.
Tracy Brogan, head teacher of Ernulf Academy, said: “Both staff and students have worked extremely hard to make progress this year, strongly supported by parents and the wider community. We are continuing to move forward. We are particularly pleased with how students have performed in the more challenging new style English and maths GCSEs with more than 50 per cent of students achieving a good grade (grade 4 and above) and several students attaining the new top grades of 8 and 9.”
She added: “I am really pleased to see how much the students have achieved. I would like to thank the invaluable support provided by their parents/carers. Well done to all of the students and good luck for the future; I wish them every success as they move onto the next steps in their education or venture into the world of work beyond school by taking up apprenticeships and employment.”
ABBEY COLLEGE, RAMSEY
At Abbey College, some 65 per cent of students achieved five A*-C grades - including English and maths - at the new grade 4 and above.
Additionally, some 70 per cent of students achieved the top 4-9 grades (the equivalent of the old A*-C) in both English and maths.
This year a new grading system has been introduced for English literature, language and maths which is scored on a system of 1-9, opposed to the previous A*-G rating.
The college’s English literature grades were particularly notable, with 60 per cent of students achieving a strong pass (grade 5) or above – up 15 percentage points on last year. Twenty per cent of students also achieved the top grades of 7-9 (equivalent to an old grade A*-A).
Half of students achieved a strong pass (grade 5) or above in maths and 68 per cent of students achieved a grade 5 or above in English.
Head teacher, Andy Christoforou, said: “These outstanding results are a perfect way to end a great year for Abbey College and I am incredibly proud of all staff and students.
“Despite the turbulence of changes to the academic system, our students have made considerable progress and achieved excellent exam results. As a result, we are expecting our Progress 8 figure to be very high and look forward to receiving the validated league tables next year.
“On behalf of all members of staff at the college I would like to wish our students all the best with their next chapter and to congratulate them on their hard work and dedication.”
The college saw some fantastic individual performances this year, including Peter Mizuro who achieved 2A*s, 4As, B, 8, 7, 6 and Distinction*, Jack Taylor who achieved 2A*s, 3As, 2 Bs, D, 9, 8, 7, Aerin Blood who achieved 8A*, 2 9s, 8 and Distinction*, Holly Burford who achieved 5A*s, 3As, 9, 2 8s and Distinction*, and Priscilla Graham who achieved 4A*s, 3As, 2 9s and an 8.
ST PETER’S SCHOOL
The head teacher at St Peter’s School in Huntingdon said this year’s results represented a “significant improvement” upon last year’s record-breaking achievements.
About two thirds of students achieved grade 9-4 (the old A*-C) in both English and maths – a rise from 55 per cent in 2016. 11 students at the school achieved grade 9, the highest grade, placing them within the top five per cent of students nationally. In particular nine students achieved grades A/A* across nine subjects.
Some 76 per cent of students achieved an English grade between 9-4, a 4 being equivalent to an old C grade under the government’s new grading system, with 73 per cent achieving a 9-4 grade in mathematics.
Christopher Bennet, head teacher, said: “We have seen a great improvement in students’ attitudes to learning.
“Due to the hard work and determination of students and staff, along with the support of our parents, we have achieved results to be proud of.”
In science, results were particularly high, with 94 per cent achieving A*-C in physics and 98 per cent in biology.
With almost 28 per cent of all grades awarded at A*(or 9/8) and more than 57 per cent at A* or A (or 9 to 7), Kimbolton School pupils achieved excellent GCSE and IGCSE results.
Twenty-nine pupils, or 31 per cent of the year group, received at least 9A*/A (or 9 to 7) grades. All pupils achieved five or more passes at A* to C (9 to 4) grade (including maths and English), the government’s standard measure of GCSE attainment.
Included in these results are those for international GCSEs in French, history, mathematics, physics, and Spanish. Results for two subjects, English language and English literature, were scored under the new 9 to 1 grading system, where a 7 is anchored at an A, a 4 at a low C and a 1 at a G.
Hattie Dent, from Stanwick, achieved 10 A* (or 9/8) grades while Lydia Carter (St Ives) received 9A* (or 9/8)s plus one A.
Other notable achievers, all with at least 9 A*/A (or 9 to 7) grades and at least 6 at A* (or 9/8), were Mazen Badawy (Huntingdon), Umar Chaudhari (from Brampton), Pete Duberly, Lawrence Palmer and Tyger Peake (all from Stonely). Holly Fraser (Buckden), Sam Gregory and Shira Webb (both Kimbolton), Celia Lee and Harry Lee (both overseas), Joe Lee (Raunds), Lewis Meakin (St Ives), Sadira Pyne-Bailey
(Wellingborough), Anushka Shukla (Barton Seagrave) and Charlotte Wylde (Great Paxton).
The vast majority of the year group will be continuing in Kimbolton School’s Sixth Form next month where they will be joined by about 20 students from other schools.
Jonathan Belbin, headmaster, said: “We are very pleased with this strong set of results which again demonstrates the added value that we provide. Our pupils represent a relatively broad ability range and their dedication to hard work, alongside the support of their teachers, has shone throughout.”
Joe Lee added his GCSE results to the A* in A-level mathematics that he completed this year. He took his IGCSE mathematics at the end of his first form (Year 7) and received an A*. Since then, he has followed an individual pathway in maths, completing a number of courses on his way to the further maths A Level that he will study during his sixth form in addition to A-levels in physics, politics and
Mr Belbin added: “Joe is not only a gifted mathematician but also a superb all-round student, in class, on the stage and in the debating chamber. We have encouraged him in myriad areas rather than narrow his focus too early.”
SAWTRY VILLAGE ACADEMY
At Sawtry Village Academy, 67 per cent of students achieved 4-9, the equivalent of A*-C, in English and mathematics.
In the English and mathematics departments, 80 per cent and 72 per cent of students respectively, achieved a grade 4 or higher. More than 10 per cent of entries across all subjects were graded 9 or 8 (A* equivalent) and 24 per cent of entries were graded 7 (A equivalent), or above.
The science department has continued to improve with 65 per cent of students achieving two or more C grades and above in two sciences.
The following individual students all achieved exceptional results; Lauren Chalker, Freya Walton, Abigail Dalby, Libby Jarvis, Emma Hunt, George Davison, Morgan Davis, Jake Smith, Chloe Phillips, Dagmara Aulich, Matthew Vallier, Aisha Teffah, Megan Childs, Bradley Parnell, John Moody and Chloe Bradford. All these students achieved an attainment 8 score higher than grade A or 8 across all of their GCSEs.
Sarah Wilson, principal of Sawtry Village Academy, said: “We are really proud of these results which show continued improvement over the past three years; a testament to the hard work of our students and staff.
“We are particularly pleased with how the progress gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students has narrowed significantly again this year.
“We would like to congratulate all students and staff who have navigated the new 9-1 GCSE courses with great success.”